Despite its humble name, the Homebrew Computer Club holds a special place in computing history. Started in 1975, the club was a place where hackers and hobbyists could get together, and it attracted some of the brightest minds in the industry, from Steve Wozniak to Ted Nelson. It's the place where Wozniak and Steve Jobs showed off the prototype for the Apple-1 for the very first time. Now, the old gang is getting back together, with a little help from Kickstarter. The group has successfully funded a reunion — raising more than $16,000 through the crowdfunding service — that will take place on November 11th at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.
"We should open it up to the public."
There will be at least 25 of the original members in attendance at the reunion, including Wozniak, Nelson, club co-founder Gordon French, and Lee Felsenstein, designer of the world's first mass-produced portable computer. The quartet will be speaking at the event in a talk dubbed "a homebrew retrospective." If the Kickstarter manages to raise $30,000 a professional photographer will be hired to take Creative Commons licensed photos, while the $40,000 mark will allow the group to film a short documentary that will be made available on the Internet Archive. The November 11th event will be the first meeting of the club since 1986, and it was inspired in large part by the increased attention that came with the passing of Jobs.
"I thought it was time to have another one, with the increase in publicity," says Hilda Sendyk, one of the original club members. "And also we should open it up to the public, to let people know what it was really like, and to meet some of the people who are still around, who made the industry what it is today."